Lgh Four East 1968
We just withered away like plants
by Philippa Lane
that hadn't been watered
Nor had enough light;
You were bloated with insulin,
I shocked by shock treatments.
The staff, quacks and nurses,
Dried us in towels of tenderness,
And powdered us with condescending words,
Then strapped us tightly down
on beds that felt like boards -
Our screams were clear.
“The blood is gushing from our hearts-
Find a tourniquet so it may stop.”
They stared and shook their heads
And blinked at us:
'Dears, you are like droopy plants,
Waiting for our special care;
We will give you chlorophyll injections
And feed you green Fertitabs in here
So your flimsy stems will, once again,
Stand erect, in which case
You will at least be saleable
When you leave here,
Or decorate an empty waiting-room,
Or some hall table, or sit on the sill
In a dying man’s room.
You must cooperate in here'.
“Who are you”, we said, 'for we are
Having trouble with our souls.”
'We are Doctors of Disgrace
And Surgeons of Despair –
There isn’t any space –we don't
Touch souls in here.
They are like bubbles floating
Out of reach,
And sting our eyes -
We hate souls Here.”
We strained our minds through written lines,
We sieved our memories for hope;
We watched the ink blots blur,
As they swabbed away our tears,
So wasted There.
“We flew too near the sun,
Our skin is burned,
Our blisters ooze…
We have to find the Middle Air”,
You said: 'Let's get out of Here.
We must go home instead
To convalesce; the sun still shines
And blisters aren’t so bad
Compared to Here.”